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Locus Award, 2007
"Novik's magical 18th century, peopled with sympathetic characters, induces avid reading. Long may she write!" (Booklist)
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By R. George on 03-13-12
Enthralling, but unusually paced for a series.
Novik has created a truly wonderful story. The cast is marvelous, the scenery is rich, and the premise is both captivating and refreshing.
However, the pacing feels more like a slightly episodic long form fantasy than it does a series. "His Majesty's Dragon", the first book, was a bit more conventional. It had a fairly symmetrical plot arc and a thoroughly rousing conclusion battle.
However, "Throne of Jade" was rather more ponderous (as it no doubt would have been for Laurence and Temeraire, sailing to the other side of the world and becoming embroiled in lengthy diplomatic tangles). It also didn't have nearly as cinematic an ending, though still a good one.
"Black Powder War" is similar. They spend a lot of time traveling over vast tracts of fairly barren land, and it doesn't happen very fast. There are several great aerial battles, but what could properly be called the climax is actually not a fight at all. Some might find this disappointing, but I feel that she is taking the time truly do the story the justice it deserves. And that is more exciting than a bit of token action.
I have recently become more accustomed to books like "Wheel of Time" and "The Way of Kings", than to short form fiction. And when the Temeraire series is viewed as a single story of multiple volumes rather than a set of connected, but independent, stories, the arc and pacing feel more natural. Certainly the two books following "His Majesty's Dragon" are slower. However, they are also deeper. Novik takes the time to really delve into the world she is giving us, as well as into the characters with which she has populated it so wonderfully.
As always, Simon Vance is brilliant. His narration is at once subtle and captivating.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful